Halloween Kills

Halloween Kills ★½

The type of sequel that has enough well-made sequences—"little John, big John" being called through a house with impending doom, a hideaway by a creek, under a tree that recalls The Fellowship of the Ring—that it's quite a bummer how many messy 1978 callbacks, 1978 revisions, and 1978 added layers this middle film attempts. The main revision wipes away the power of the 1978 ending simply to place a few new characters in Michael Myers' path 40 years prior.

David Gordon Green can execute some tension from simple setups, but he's too interested in trying to elevate this new trilogy into a serious document on a town's trauma. This is attempted through a Frankenstein side story of mob justice, which could be interesting, but that does not land. At all. And it tries so hard. "40 years ago, Michael Myers..." its characters remind us every four minutes like we're complete idiots. "Evil dies tonight!" they chant even though it seems that most of the town had to be reminded that it even happened 40 years ago. The flashbacks, to place these characters in the town 40 years ago, also makes it so the movie doesn't really start until more than 20 minutes have gone by, with a back story added for Will Patton's policeman in 1978. (Donald Pleasance, R.I.P.)

All of this adds up to a movie with so much cross-cutting between locations and years to feel big and expansive but it mostly just makes it a mess. A lean and mean approach would've served the middle film of this new trilogy quite well because it is quite mean and that's what works best and the audience doesn't need to be told that Michael Myers has haunted Haddonfield, Illinois when he's be in the cultural consciousness far longer than he's actually been on the loose. There's actually a pretty great horror movie in here, swimming amongst the debris of you-can't-spell-importance-without-IP. If playing up every person you ever saw in the 1978 film is a neat thought to you, this'll be a masterpiece.

I didn’t like movie but here’s some dumb math. Two stars for some obvious visual craft and John Carpenter's score that shook my seat on occasion, giving me more scares than the movie itself (which definitely has some gnarly and gross kills, but many come after a jump scare). Minuses for all the 1978 reshaping sessions, obvious one liners (“none of are innocent”) and for lingering on the bloody brains of a suicide that’s only there for a prolonged doorstop plot opening. Our obsessions with trilogies gave this miscarriage. It’s not really a movie, it’s just a reminder that it’ll have one more to come.

I suppose, however, at least there aren’t podcasters.

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